I took a linguistics class in college. I loved it. Between that and the French class I had that semester I could phonetically spell the pants off anything said to me. Unfortunately my phonetic spelling skillz faded with disuse and by the time I had small children pronouncing things in funny ways I didn’t remember how to write them.
Anyway, in that class we talked a bit about childhood language development. I don’t remember any of the technical terms but I learned that sometimes kids say something correctly but they don’t know it’s correct so they may move on and try a few other things before coming back to saying the correct way.
What I just wrote; is that nonsense? I’m not sure. I tried so many different ways of saying what I mean that I can’t tell anymore. What does this say about my linguistic development?
She points at people in the store and asks me “What’s that?” My standard answer is “I don’t know his/her name,” Either that or I try to creatively turn the conversation in such a way that the person to whom she was referring will not realize that they’ve just been called a “what” rather than a “who.”
Next she started asking when I’m on the phone “Mom, what’s that?” I, being myself, can’t just answer the question I know shes trying to ask, instead I answer the question she actually asks. “It’s a phone.” I say. After a few repetitions of that she come’s back with “NO what’s THAT!” and eventually I act surprised and say “Oh, you mean who’s that? You want to know who I was talking to?” So we’ve had a chat or five about how peoples are whos not whats. Then we had a new development.
I was changing a diaper when she walked into the room. “Who’s that smell?” she asked me.